General Pande became the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to be appointed as Army Chief.
New Delhi: After 42 years of service in the Indian Army, General M M Narvane on Saturday retired from the post of Army Chief. In the morning, General Naravane laid a wreath at the National War Memorial prior to relinquishing as the Chief of the Army Staff.
General Manoj Pande, who was serving as the Vice Chief, took charge as the new Army Chief. With his elevation, General Pande became the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to be appointed as the Army Chief. Officers from the ‘sappers’ have served as commanders and vice chiefs but never as the Army chief.
General Pande, before being appointed as the Vice-Chief, was heading the Eastern Army Command, tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors. He has also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN), which is India’s only tri-services command. He has also held many prestigious commands and staff assignments in conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations in all types of terrain.
He commanded an engineer regiment along the Line of Control during Operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir, an engineer brigade in the western sector, an infantry brigade along LoC and a mountain division in the high-altitude area of western Ladakh and a corps in the Northeast.
General Pande has assumed charge at a time when there is consistent standoff between India and China in Ladakh. His appointment also comes as the Narendra Modi government works on indigenisation of military hardware — a subject that will prove particularly challenging now given the ongoing fallout of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General B S Raju will take over as the next Army vice chief on May 1. Lt General Raju is currently the Army’s director general of military operations (DGMO) and, in that capacity, was monitoring the border standoff with China in the sensitive Ladakh sector. Lieutenant General Manoj Katiyar will replace Raju as the Army’s next DGMO.